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This past week a 13 year old girl, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, was stabbed to death whilst she slept, by an Arab terrorist who managed to break into her home.

This tragic event will be briefly mentioned in the world news and some people will post an article or make a comment on their facebook profile.

The question is, when we hear about and see pictures of Hallel and her funeral and other such tragedies, how will we choose to respond?

One option is to feel uncomfortable for a second and then, because there are many other things going on in the world and in our life, to move on and to see what else is happening in the world news or on our facebook wall.

I want to suggest a slightly modified response…

One of the beautiful virtues that the Jewish people possess can be seen in times of war. Secular, Ultra-orthodox, Zionist, Sefardi, Chassidish, Ashkenazi… put their differences aside and rally to help each other in any way they can at such times. Whether it’s sending food, warm clothes, toiletries, notes of support and thanks to Israeli soldiers – sharing homes with families who have lost their own homes – putting extra time and effort into praying and providing spiritual merits for those who are in the line of fire… We do it!

But all of this hinges on one thing…

And that one thing is our ability to EMPATHISE.   

In other words, this beautiful virtue that we, the Jewish people, rally to each other’s aid when times are hard, hinges on the fact that deep down we care about each other…

But this beautiful trait can weaken and become numb within us…

Sadly tragedies are happening more and more frequently and there is a danger, because of this, that we can become numb as we hear about them day after day. The truth is that it is human nature to become numb! But it shouldn’t be that such outcries can happen to our brothers and sisters and we give in to human nature and stop feeling their pain… that we become nonchalant… that such atrocities end up bothering us less than if we would get a scratch on our car!

When we are watching or hearing or reading the news that a Jew has been injured or killed, chas v’Shalom, we have 2 options:

We can feel uncomfortable for a moment, and then move on with our lives.

Or… Even if we feel that we can do nothing for the family, there is one thing that we can do and that it is important to do…

Before moving on with our day, it is important to stop and give even 60 seconds of our time to try and feel the tragedy of the loss and the pain of the family. 

Let’s hope and pray that there are no more tragedies… But if there are, chas v’Shalom, lets try and pause for a minute… and if we have a picture of the deceased and their family, let’s look at their faces and try to think about and feel their loss and their pain.

Even if we don’t want to express our pain through prayer or some other action, our heritage teaches that feeling another person’s pain helps them, even if they don’t know who we are… (Why and how this works we can look into another time)… It is crucial that we as individuals and as a nation don’t let ourselves become numb and lose the one trait which binds us together.

Just sharing my thoughts…

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